“I continue to love what you’re doing. Great ideas.”
“The best lunch date of my life. We were there for two and a half hours, but could easily have stayed for five.”
A little social network filled entirely with warm-hearted, trustworthy, unselfconscious, intrinsically motivated, self-aware, unflappable, bright, funny folks.
Five experiences told me it was a good idea.
Thanksgiving at Aunt Mickey’s
My mom stuffed our New Jersey apartment with warm-hearted, trustworthy, unselfconscious, intrinsically motivated, self-aware, unflappable, bright, funny folks (I call them Sugarmaples), every Thanksgiving, for thirty-five years.
Thanksgiving at Aunt Mickey’s taught me that people this wonderful really exist.
Cornell Adult University
All four summers during high school, my mom, sister and I attended Cornell Adult University in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York. Many of the hundreds of people there were just like the folks at Thanksgiving.
Cornell Adult University taught me that Sugarmaples are everywhere and they love connecting.
Connecting Sugarmaples for a living
For the last five years, I’ve made my living introducing CEOs to outside experts who can help them. Three years ago, I decided to restrict all my introductions to Sugarmaple CEOs and Sugarmaple experts only. Every single introduction since has been a success.
Connecting Sugarmaples for a living taught me that Sugarmaples always hit it off.
In many ways, the Internet is off-the-charts wonderful. But, at the same time, it stinks. Twitter is compromised by hot-heads, Facebook by advertisers, Meetup by weirdos, eBay by scammers, LinkedIn by recruiters, Craigslist by criminals, instagram by egotists, Youtube by nutcases, and Match by hookup artists.
The Internet taught me that any online social experience, no matter how many nice people are a part of it, will go down the tubes if someone awful is inserted into the mix.
Two years ago, I put on a small conference for twenty Sugarmaples (in England, where almost half of those who joined us were from) called Meddle. Nobody, myself included, had any idea what we were in for.
“If an eagle and a tiger had a human baby that was then raised by ninjas, it would be Ted.”
“Ted is extraordinary at what he does, and he’s a man of his word.”
“It was a wonderful time and a really great meal.”
“I had a very enjoyable lunch with Seth [Godin] yesterday — a smart and likable guy. There are degrees of kindredness (as well as of heresy). But we do seem to share a fair amount. Thanks for matching us.”
“It was such a great experience that I’m wracking my brain for other problems in my business that Ted could solve with a thoughtful connection.”
“I wanted to thank you again for the past weekend’s amazing fun and incredible opportunity to have an exchange of notions with Anil [Dash]. I feel even richer for the ideas & starting-places that have come out of the whole thing!”
“You know how it seems like everyone has a personal trainer, now? I believe Ted is the progenitor of a new kind of empathy-based collective problem solving that everyone will take for granted some day.”
“Sugarmaples is a collection of passionate, ambitious, big-hearted visionaries, and Ted is the Master Cultivator.”
“I have to say, you are very good at what you do. The timing was perfect and with one introduction you’ve enabled a ton of fruitful connections (which in the long run, might actually help save lives) in the span of a few days.”
Frequently asked questions.
Can I join?
Almost all of the people I invite to join come through introductions from existing members or my own research. But I’m always open to suitors! You can email me at ted [at] ahsugarmaples.com. Include a link to a video or two of you talking – in conversation, on stage, or even something quick that you record on your smart phone. Image quality doesn’t matter.
I look at every video that’s sent to me and will contact you back if I’m ready to extend an invite.
What does membership cost?
Nothing right now. Down the road, I’ll start charging a monthly fee. Anyone who becomes a member before the fee is instituted will be grandfathered in and never have to pay a cent.
How do you know if someone's a Sugarmaple?
Here’s my heuristic: If I’m confident ten randomly-selected members of the Sugarmaples social network would unanimously agree that someone is abundantly warm-hearted, trustworthy, unselfconscious, intrinsically motivated, self-aware, unflappable, bright, and funny, then that person is a Sugarmaple, and they’re in.
How common are Sugarmaples?
It’s very hard to say. About one in fifty of the people I consider present clearly as Sugarmaples.
Where did the name 'Sugarmaples' come from?
The sweet and strong qualities of these folks reminded me of the tree. I also grew up and went to college on the East Coast, where sugar maples are on nearly every street. They are also, by coincidence, the State Tree of New York, where I went to college.
Is this how you make a living?
Can I suggest someone?
Absolutely. I’d love that. Email me at ted [at] ahsugarmaples.com.
Who did the trees illustration?
Who made the Meddle video?
Who did the stop-motion animation for the Meddle video?
Who did the music for the video?
What platform is the social network built on?
Will you share or sell my data?
Is this advertising-supported?
No. There’s no advertising of any kind.
Who designed the Meddle logo?
I’m married to Allison, an architect. We have a ridiculous second-grader, Oscar, and an enormous Newfoundland, Tatou, who’s famous on the Internet. I’m a Cornell alum and software industry (Sony / IBM / Roguewave / CQG) refugee. My other passion project is Fall: In Love with Music, a new kind of venue I’m developing for Denver.